By Sarah Riehm
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church
On Sunday, April 18, St. Patrick’s will celebrate Earth Day at both the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. worship services.
Our guest speaker is Herb Grover, noted local environmentalist and college professor who has taught about ecology for more than 25 years. He has a particular interest in Creation Care, the modern movement to mobilize churches to be good stewards of our natural resources.
The service will also contain nature-related scripture, readings and prayers. At the 10 a.m. service, Robert Neel will sing favorite nature hymns as well as the stunning anthem, “The Peace of Wild Things,” a poem by Wendell Berry set to music by Gwyneth Walker.
After the 10 a.m. service, native wildflower plants will be distributed, one per household while supplies last. This effort supports the church’s new initiative to support and cultivate more native plants on the grounds and in the community.
April 2021 as been declared National Native Plant Month in a bipartisan bill passed in the U. S. Senate last month. Why go native? Plants that occur naturally in the wild in our southwest Colorado region require far less water than most that you find in a typical garden center. Plus, they have co-evolved with local bugs, birds and animals to sustain our local ecosystem. As one example, a native oak tree supports more than 500 species of caterpillars to feed our hungry migrating birds. A non-native gingko tree only hosts five species of caterpillars. Many “foreign” plants found in local nurseries have become invasive pests, crowding out native species and degrading habitat in natural areas. You can find a great list of native plants suitable for our specific zip code by going to www.audubon.org and searching for the native plant database.